All posts by blackhistory938

Akyem of the Akan

The Akyem are an Akan people. The term Akyem (Akem, Akim or Aki) is used to describe a group of Four states: Asante AkyemAkyem AbuakwaAkyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome. These nations are located primarily in the eastern region in south Ghana. The term is also used to describe the general area where the Akyem ethnic group clusters. The Akyem ethnic group make up between 3-9 percent of Ghana’s population depending on how one defines the group and are very prominent in all aspects of Ghanaian life. The Akyem are a matrilineal people. The history of this ethnic group is that of brave warriors who managed to create a thriving often influential and relatively independent state within modern-day Ghana .[1] When one talks of Ghanaian history, there is often mention of The Big Six. These were six individuals who played a big role in the independence of Ghana. Of the big six, people of Akyem descent made up the majority.

History and genesis of the Akyem states

Akyemmansa is the three traditional areas of Akyem in the eastern region of Ghana. Historically, it has been attested via oral history that the Akyem people were one of the first Akan people to migrate from South of the Sahel.

This area is the origin of modern Akan people.

The Sahel part of Africa includes from west to east parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of AlgeriaNiger, the extreme north of Nigeria, parts of Cameroon and Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South SudanEritrea, and the extreme north of Ethiopia.[5]

Historically, the western part of the Sahel was sometimes known as the Sudan region (bilād as-sūdān بلاد السودان “lands of the blacks”). This belt was roughly located between the Sahara and the coastal areas of West Africa.

A group of Akan people who left Bonoman later formed the Adansi Kingdom in the mid-14th century. The Adansis were known for their ability to build illustrious structures in their kingdom; hence the name adansi (builders).

The Azande (plural of “Zande” in the Zande language) are an ethnic group of North Central Africa.

Azande
Richard Buchta - Zande men with shields, harp.jpg

Azande men with shields, harp, between 1877 and 1880.
Total population
3.8 million at end of 20th century[1]
Regions with significant populations
Central African RepublicDemocratic Republic of the CongoSouth Sudan
Languages
Pa-ZandeBangala, English, Sango and Arabic
Religion
ChristianityAfrican Traditional Religion

They live primarily in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in south-central and southwestern part of South Sudan, and in southeastern Central African Republic. The Congolese Azande live in Orientale Province, specifically along the Uele River; Isiro, Dungu, Kisangani and Duruma. The Central African Azande live in the districts of RafaïBangasu and Obo. The Azande of South Sudan live in CentralWestern Equatoriaand Western Bahr al-Ghazal States, Yei, Maridi, Yambio, Tombura, Deim Zubeir, Wau Town and Momoi.

Western Equatoria State is a state in South Sudan. It has an area of 79,343 km². Its capital is Yambio. The state was divided into counties, each headed by a County Commissioner. Western Equatoria seceded from Sudan as part of the Republic of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. On October 2, 2015, the state was divided into AmadiMaridi, and Gbudwe states, and Tambura State was split from Gbudwe state on January 14, 2017. Western Equatoria State was re-established by a peace agreement signed on 22 February 2020. [1]

Since the 16th century, Western Equatoria has been a home to the AvukayaAzandeBakaMoruMundu and Balanda.

The Nilotic people of South Sudan—the AcholiAnyuakBariDinkaNuerShillukKaligi  (Arabic Feroghe), and others—first entered South Sudan sometime before the 10th century coinciding with the fall of medieval Nubia. During the period from the 15th to the 19th centuries, tribal migrations, largely from the area of Bahr el Ghazal, brought the AnyuakDinkaNuer and Shilluk to their modern locations of both Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile Regions, while the Acholi and Bari settled in Equatoria. The ZandeMunduAvukaya and Baka, who entered South Sudan in the 16th century, established the region’s largest state of Equatoria Region.

The Western Sudan is a historic region in the northern part of West Africa. Traditionally, the Western Sudan extends from the Atlantic Ocean across to the basin of Lake Chad (which is sometimes associated with a region called “Central Sudan” or other times with the Western Sudan) and includes the savanna and Sahel lands north of the West African tropical rainforest belt. It includes the rivers of the SenegalGambiaand Niger systems, as well as the highlands of Fouta Djallon from which these rivers flow.

Historians have considered the Western Sudan as a land of great empires, since at least the seventh century, when the Empire of Ghana flourished, there have been a succession of empires: Ghana (seventh to eleventh century), Mali (thirteenth to fifteenth century), Songhai (1464–1591) are the three best known, but smaller large scale polities have also been important, the Empire of Great Foula (late sixteenth to early eighteenth century), the Bamana Empire (late seventeenth to early nineteenth century), and the nineteenth century empires of El Hajj Umar Tal and Samori Toure. In fact, since the fourteenth century at least, local historians of the region have seen its history in terms of a succession of empires. This cycle is discernible in the historical accounts of shaykh Uthman, whose history was told to the historian ibn Khaldun while on the Muslim Pilgrimage in 1397. It can also be found in the great Sudanese chronicle, Tarikh al-Fettash. Modern historians have followed suit, and the imperial tradition can be found in textbooks today.[1]

In the first half of the 17th century, the area of what is now Ghana was dominated by three states the Denkyera, the Adansi, and the Akwamu. Within the Adansi state there were three military posts in the Western Portion Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku, and Akyem Bosome.[2]Eastern Adansi as an entity lost much of its identity due to conflicts with neighboring states namely the Denkyira and much of it was absorbed in the Denkyira empire. The remnants of it, the Akyem states on the West were too strong to bring under Denkyira control. This gave rise to the identity and notoriety of the Akyem states in the later 17th century. Thus, during the second half of the 17th century the area which became Ghana was dominated by three states the Denkyera, Akyem and Akwamu.[3]
 

The rising Ashanti Kingdom flourished under the leadership of Nana Osei Tutu, and during their ascendancy assimilated the once powerful Denkyira into the growing empire in the early 18th century. The Akyem nations, in an attempt to maintain autonomy and not crumble like the former superpower Denkyira, fled across the River Pra to reinforce its military posts.

Nana Osei Tutu chose to pursue the Akyem across the River Pra to teach them a lesson and, to attempt to further build the Ashanti Empire and expand its influence over another of its former subordinates. The Ashanti states which now included the former Denkyira empire used a methodology which involved overwhelming the opposing nation with sheer numbers and, demanding that they surrender. While crossing the river with his massive army, he was ambushed by the Akyems and fell dead into the river, while his massive army was defeated. This was on a Thursday; this brought forth the great oath of the Ashantis, “Meka Yawada” (I swear by Thursday). The Akyems who carried out this ambush were known as “abuakwanfo” or “abuakwafo” (guerrilla fighters).

After the battle the Akyem moved southeastwards. As a result of this movement, some of the Akyems, especially the Kotokus, settled in the present-day Ashanti-Akyem area.

The majority of the Akyems, however, continued to flee south-eastwards and settled in several areas along the way until they came into contact with the Akwamu, another one of the original three 17th-century powerful Akan states, which had influences from modern-day Ghana all the way to present day Benin.

18th-century Akyem-Akwamu war

The Akyems, especially the elite forces known as the Abuakwas but also the Kotokus, fought the Akwamus and emerged victorious. In defeating the Akwamu, the Akyem got control of the land the Akwamu had been occupying that belonged to the Ga nation, and the Ga people were allowed more autonomy in their historic lands. Accra came under Akyem rule as they were Akwamu areas. Frimpong Manso of Kotoku and Ba kwante of Abuakwa shared authority over Accra and the Adangbe area. Owusu Akyem, son of a sister of the Okyenhene, became the administrator of the Adangbe area. Historian J. K. Fynn writes the following:[3]

The Akyem conquest of Akwamu in 1730 was one of the most decisive victories in Gold Coast history. The event was described by contemporaries as the greatest revolution that had taken place in that part of the world. Since the Akwamu themselves destroyed the old Ga Kingdom in the late seventeenth century.

After the war the Akyem Abuakwas made their temporary capitals in several former Akwamu areas, including Praso, until they finally settled at Pameng. However, it was during the reign of Nana Ofori Panin that the capital of Akyem Abuakwa was finally moved to “Kyebirie” (named after a black hat used by a hunter using the area as his hunting grounds). It is now known as Kyebi.

The victory opened up trade between the Akyem – a nation described as having some of the largest gold deposits – and Europeans on the coast.

Genesis of Akuapem state of Akyem

The Akyem Abuakwa created the Akuapem state out of the greater half of western portion of the former Akwamu state and it included the Aburi, Berekuso, Abiriw, Apirede and Larte areas. Ofori Dua, brother of Ofori Panin, became Omanhene of the Akuapem state.During the reign of the great warrior king (Adontehene) of the Akyems, Nana Owusu Akyem Tenten, who was also known as the “Kwae-Bibirimhene” (King of the Dense Forest), the Guan ethnic group and the Dawu ethnic group appealed to him for help to drive the Akwamus out of their area for them to enjoy peace.The Akyems were mercenaries during that time period and were known for helping neighbouring states fight off the middle men of the slave trade and adjoining states in other battles that were in the interest of the Akyem states’ ultimate objective of remaining strong and independent. Nana Owusu Akyem Tenten (King of the Dense Forest) agreed to send his nephew a respected soldier, Odehyee Safori, with an army. They were victorious over the Akwamu again these battles and created the states of Akropong and Amanokrom. Safori pursued the Akwamus across the River Volta, where they settled up until the present day, with their capital at Akwamufie.

By 1740 the power within the coast was as follows: the Akyem firmly controlling a majority of the Eastern portion of the coastal area; with the Fante, Asante and Ahanta controlling the rest.

Post 1740

After 1740 the Akyem control of the coast was tentative and disagreements among the Akyem states weakened them. Also starting around this time, key areas on the coast were constantly being battled for with the Ashanti until 1816 when the Ashanti firmly established itself on the Eastern half of what became the Gold Coast in the former Akwamu State which the Akyem had won almost a century earlier. This was mainly due to a battle of attrition were the Akyem were out numbered. In the end, the Ashanti inherited some of the lands which had been won from the Akwamu including access to the coastal lands which essentially established the Asante empire as the most power state in the region which controlled all trade from the interior to the Coast. The Akim retreated back to their historic lands in what is now the Eastern Region of Ghana. To conclude, the Akyem are most famous because of the Akan states that existed before the rise of the empire of Ashanti the Akyem states remained the most independent and remained the most relevant.J. K. Fynn writes:[3]

The Asante bid for supremacy, however was violently opposed by older Akans states whose kings refused to accept the pretensions and claims of what they considered an upstart dynasty. Of these Akan states, Akyem resistance to Asante political domination was not only persistent but also it was nearly the most successful

Akwamu

Akwamus are the Abrade (Aduana) Clan of the Akan ethinic group. According to the oral traditions, they originated from ancient Ghana. They migrated from the north through Egypt and settled in Nubia (Sudan). Around 500 AD (5th century), due to the pressure exerted on Nubia by Axumite kingdom of Ethiopia, Nubia was shattered, and they moved to the west and established small trading kingdoms which later grew and became wealthy and powerful state. By 750 AD, the kingdom had become the ancient Ghana Empire. The Empire lasted from 750 AD to 1200 AD and collapsed as a result of the introduction of Islam in the Western Sudan, and the zeal of the Muslims to impose their religion, their ancestors left for Kong (i.e. present day Ivory Coast). From Kong they moved to Wam. From Wam they moved to Bono Manso, then to Dormaa (these are both on present day Brong-Ahafo region). The movement from Kong was necessitated by the desire of the people to find suitable Savannah conditions since they were not used to Forest life. Around the 14th century, they moved from Dormaa south and went eastwards to Twifo-Hemang, North West Cape Coast. The move was commercially motivated and settled at the Twifo-Heman forest in the later part of the 16th century. Akwamus are Akans, they belonged to the Aduana family who are blood brothers of Asumennya, Dormaa and Kumawu. According to oral tradition, a succession dispute resulted in Otomfuo (brass-smith) Asare deserted the family to form a new state or city called Asaremankesee (Asare’s big state). The modern city of Asaremankese was founded and occupied by the Akwamus.

Akwamu expansion started between 1629 and 1710. They migrated into the Akuapem area, including Kyerepon and Larteh, Denkyera, Ga-Adangbe; and the Ladoku states of Agona, Winneba, Afram plains, Southern Togoland and into Ouidah(Juda) in present-day Benin. The powerful king Nana Ansa Sasraku I annexed the Guan and took over the traditional areas of the Kyerepon. He ruled over them until Asonaba Nana Ofori Kuma and his followers, after a succession dispute in an effort to form their own State, engaged them in a fierce war. The Akwamu were driven away from the mountains.

These Asona family members and their followers were given a piece of land by the Guan and Kyerepon, the original settlers, to form the Akuapem state. But, most of the present Akuapem still have their roots at Akwamufie, especially those bearing the names Addo and Akoto, or who are from the Aduana family.

Nana Ansa Sasraku also played an important role in the life of the King Osei Tutu of Asante by protecting him from the Denkyiria. Osei Tutu’s father name was Owusu Panin from Akwamu and his mother was named Manu Kotosii who also was from Kwaaman. She was the sister of Oti Akenten and Obiri Yeboah the late kings of Kwaaman. When Manu was unable to have children, her brother Obiri Yeboah sent her to a shrine priest called Otutu in Akwapim for help. Later she conceived and gave birth to a baby boy (Osei Kofi) and named him after the shrine called Tutu; by then Kwaaman was under the Denkyiria so when Osei was teenager, he was sent to serve at the court of Boa Amponsem, the then king of Denkyiria. Later, Osei got himself into trouble by impregnating the king’s sister Akobena Bensua and ran to his father at Akwamu for protection. When Osei got to Akwamu, Otumfuo Ansa Sasraku received him and treated him very well; and also protected him from the Denkyirias. Later, Osei Tutu met Kwame Frimpong Anokye (a.k.a. Okomfo Anokye) and he became his friend. Shortly after that Osei’s uncle, Obiri Yeboah, the then king of Kwaaman died in their war against Domaa; and as a result, Osei had to become the next king but he was afraid of the Denkyirias to go back to Kwaaman so Otumfuo Ansa Sasraku detached 300 Akwamu soldiers to guide him to Kwaaman. When the soldiers got to Kwaman, they settled among them and later became citizens of Asafo. The soldiers then restructured the Asante army as the replica of the well-organised Akwamu army and with the help of the Akwamus, they embarked on a series of campaigns which led to the defeat of the Denkyiras; the Asante Stool then became the wife of the Akwamu Stool but when the Akwamu was facing the combined force of Akyem (Akyem AbuakwaAkyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome), Ga, Kyerepong, and the Dutch, the Asantes pretended they knew nothing about it and did not help the Akwamus which led to their defeat in 1734. Although Akwamu lost the western part of the Empire, it was quick to reestablished itself and controlled the eastern part of the Empire that was from the east bank of the Volta river to Dahomey.

When the Asantes fought the British in their third and fourth wars, the Akwamus tried to help but withdrew their help because in 1867 Akwamu and Anlo, the two allies of Asante signed diplomatic agreement with British government; therefore based on the agreement, Akwamu could no longer team up with Asante to fight the British again and Asante was defeated. Despite all these Akwamus and Asantes are still strong allies. They fought in many wars as allies, one of the most difficult ones was the “Krepi war” in 1869 where the Dutch and the Ewe forces inflicted heavy casualties on Asante and Akwamu forces to the extent that Otumfuo Kofi Karikari, the then Asantehene decided to withdraw from the war, so he ordered Adu Bofo, the then Asante army general to abandon the Krepi war; but Bofo continued to the end, and later demanded heavy ounces of gold for the captured Dutch (German) missionaries. After the Krepi war, Peki and the majority of Ewes gained their independence; the Akwamu domination over the Ewelands came to a halt; and the empire finally collapsed in 1869. Unfortunately, the Akwamus were displeased with the performance of Otumfuo Kwafo Akoto I (Okorfroboo), the then king of Akwamu empire.

Nana Osei Tutu was assisted in execution cases by the Anumfuo (later Adumfuo) who accompanied him from Akwamu. In the 21st century, numerous Asante trace their ancestry to Akwamu especially; these included people from Asafo and Adum, as well as sections of the people from Bantama and Barekese.

After the death of Nana Ansa Sasraku, he was succeeded by two kings collectively, Nana Addo Panin and Nana Basua. It was during this time that the Akwamu took over the possession of the trading Danish Castle at Christianborg at Osu, in present-day Accra.

Akwamus are the Abrade (Aduana) Clan of the Akan ethinic group. According to the oral traditions, they originated from ancient Ghana. They migrated from the north through Egypt and settled in Nubia (Sudan). Around 500 AD (5th century), due to the pressure exerted on Nubia by Axumite kingdom of Ethiopia, Nubia was shattered, and they moved to the west and established small trading kingdoms which later grew and became wealthy and powerful state. By 750 AD, the kingdom had become the ancient Ghana Empire. The Empire lasted from 750 AD to 1200 AD and collapsed as a result of the introduction of Islam in the Western Sudan, and the zeal of the Muslims to impose their religion, their ancestors left for Kong (i.e. present day Ivory Coast). From Kong they moved to Wam. From Wam they moved to Bono Manso, then to Dormaa (these are both on present day Brong-Ahafo region). The movement from Kong was necessitated by the desire of the people to find suitable Savannah conditions since they were not used to Forest life. Around the 14th century, they moved from Dormaa south and went eastwards to Twifo-Hemang, North West Cape Coast. The move was commercially motivated and settled at the Twifo-Heman forest in the later part of the 16th century. Akwamus are Akans, they belonged to the Aduana family who are blood brothers of Asumennya, Dormaa and Kumawu. According to oral tradition, a succession dispute resulted in Otomfuo (brass-smith) Asare deserted the family to form a new state or city called Asaremankesee (Asare’s big state). The modern city of Asaremankese was founded and occupied by the Akwamus.

Akwamu expansion started between 1629 and 1710. They migrated into the Akuapem area, including Kyerepon and Larteh, Denkyera, Ga-Adangbe; and the Ladoku states of Agona, Winneba, Afram plains, Southern Togoland and into Ouidah (Juda) in present-day Benin. The powerful king Nana Ansa Sasraku I annexed the Guan and took over the traditional areas of the Kyerepon. He ruled over them until Asonaba Nana Ofori Kuma and his followers, after a succession dispute in an effort to form their own State, engaged them in a fierce war. The Akwamu were driven away from the mountains.

These Asona family members and their followers were given a piece of land by the Guan and Kyerepon, the original settlers, to form the Akuapem state. But, most of the present Akuapem still have their roots at Akwamufie, especially those bearing the names Addo and Akoto, or who are from the Aduana family.

Nana Ansa Sasraku also played an important role in the life of the King Osei Tutu of Asante by protecting him from the Denkyiria. Osei Tutu’s father name was Owusu Panin from Akwamu and his mother was named Manu Kotosii who also was from Kwaaman. She was the sister of Oti Akenten and Obiri Yeboah the late kings of Kwaaman. When Manu was unable to have children, her brother Obiri Yeboah sent her to a shrine priest called Otutu in Akwapim for help. Later she conceived and gave birth to a baby boy (Osei Kofi) and named him after the shrine called Tutu; by then Kwaaman was under the Denkyiria so when Osei was teenager, he was sent to serve at the court of Boa Amponsem, the then king of Denkyiria. Later, Osei got himself into trouble by impregnating the king’s sister Akobena Bensua and ran to his father at Akwamu for protection. When Osei got to Akwamu, Otumfuo Ansa Sasraku received him and treated him very well; and also protected him from the Denkyirias. Later, Osei Tutu met Kwame Frimpong Anokye (a.k.a. Okomfo Anokye) and he became his friend. Shortly after that Osei’s uncle, Obiri Yeboah, the then king of Kwaaman died in their war against Domaa; and as a result, Osei had to become the next king but he was afraid of the Denkyirias to go back to Kwaaman so Otumfuo Ansa Sasraku detached 300 Akwamu soldiers to guide him to Kwaaman. When the soldiers got to Kwaman, they settled among them and later became citizens of Asafo. The soldiers then restructured the Asante army as the replica of the well-organised Akwamu army and with the help of the Akwamus, they embarked on a series of campaigns which led to the defeat of the Denkyiras; the Asante Stool then became the wife of the Akwamu Stool but when the Akwamu was facing the combined force of Akyem (Akyem AbuakwaAkyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome), Ga, Kyerepong, and the Dutch, the Asantes pretended they knew nothing about it and did not help the Akwamus which led to their defeat in 1734. Although Akwamu lost the western part of the Empire, it was quick to reestablished itself and controlled the eastern part of the Empire that was from the east bank of the Volta river to Dahomey.

When the Asantes fought the British in their third and fourth wars, the Akwamus tried to help but withdrew their help because in 1867 Akwamu and Anlo, the two allies of Asante signed diplomatic agreement with British government; therefore based on the agreement, Akwamu could no longer team up with Asante to fight the British again and Asante was defeated. Despite all these Akwamus and Asantes are still strong allies. They fought in many wars as allies, one of the most difficult ones was the “Krepi war” in 1869 where the Dutch and the Ewe forces inflicted heavy casualties on Asante and Akwamu forces to the extent that Otumfuo Kofi Karikari, the then Asantehene decided to withdraw from the war, so he ordered Adu Bofo, the then Asante army general to abandon the Krepi war; but Bofo continued to the end, and later demanded heavy ounces of gold for the captured Dutch (German) missionaries. After the Krepi war, Peki and the majority of Ewes gained their independence; the Akwamu domination over the Ewelands came to a halt; and the empire finally collapsed in 1869. Unfortunately, the Akwamus were displeased with the performance of Otumfuo Kwafo Akoto I (Okorfroboo), the then king of Akwamu empire.

Nana Osei Tutu was assisted in execution cases by the Anumfuo (later Adumfuo) who accompanied him from Akwamu. In the 21st century, numerous Asante trace their ancestry to Akwamu especially; these included people from Asafo and Adum, as well as sections of the people from Bantama and Barekese.

After the death of Nana Ansa Sasraku, he was succeeded by two kings collectively, Nana Addo Panin and Nana Basua. It was during this time that the Akwamu took over the possession of the trading Danish Castle at Christianborg at Osu, in present-day Accra.

Population
Nilo_Saharan 1.47 Pct
Ubangian_Congo 1.93 Pct
W_Benue_Congo 58.89 Pct
Eastern_HG 2.17 Pct
E_Benue_Congo 25.56 Pct
Omotic 2.47 Pct
Southern_HG 2.39 Pct
Western_Semitic 5.12 Pct
Population Of My Akan admixture
Nilo-Saharan 7.44 Pct
East-Africa1 4.65 Pct
Mbuti-Pygmy 2.25 Pct
Eastern-Bantu 21.41 Pct
Khoi-San 3.12 Pct
West-Africa 39.04 Pct
Hadza 2.69 Pct
Biaka-Pygmy 10.73 Pct
Palestinian 5.31 Pct
Omotic 3.37 Pct